Healthinsurance.org is a company that educates its users about health insurance. It provides insurance information specific to each state for individuals searching for coverage at any point within the year. Initially, this project was to determine why their health plan finding tool dropped in use during the yearly Open enrollment period. However, the project expanded to focus on the overall site architecture.
The most valuable outcome of this project was helping the stakeholder understand the difference between the ideal user's mindset and the company's mindset. Once the user needs weres explained, I worked with the stakeholder and the site's web developers to increase usability through information architecture and visual design.
Strategies Utilized: Heuristic Analysis, Tree Testing, Card Sorting, Competitive Audit, User Interviewing, Site Architecture, Wireframing, Interactive Prototyping, Guerrilla Testing, Stakeholder Interviewing, Usability Testing, Google Analytics
By conducting a heuristic analysis, specifically, Jakob Nielsen's Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, many issues with the site's architecture and presentation of information were brought to light. The issues pushed me to evaluate the site further according to Jakob Nielsen's 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability. This was the research method that redirected the project towards speaking with users to understand what they know about health insurance.
I discussed with individuals of vastly different socioeconomic levels and personal factors regarding family size and whether their current job provided health insurance. These conversations supported the fact that no matter those personal details, health insurance was a hard topic for many individuals to discuss.
Card Sorting and Tree-Testing
I combined qualitative and quantitative analysis (card sorting and tree -testing) of the current site map and site verbiage to understand the site's navigation specifics. The language being used on the current site was not helping users understand this complex topic, and thus resulted in navigation difficulties.
The site’s Google analytics data explained that most users of the site are new visitors. Therefore, the importance of verbiage is even more important, because if most users are new to the site, they are also more likely to be unfamiliar with health insurance terminology.
Personas and Journey Mapping
The main difference between users of this site are the specifics of their needs, wants and prior knowledge when looking for health insurance information. The journey through healthinsurance.org is henceforth very variable. Following journeys of multiple personas was important to understanding the needs individuals have to come to the site at all and if those needs were being met.
Design Strategy Iteration
The second portion of this project involved taking the research and using it to edit the look and feel of the site. Over many months, specifically leading up to the 2018 Open Enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, there were tweaks made on all different areas of the site. It was important to do tweaks slowly, both because of the size of the development team and because of the short timeframe before Open Enrollment - the site's busiest and most important season.
The importance of working alongside web developers and understanding their viewpoint rather than just pushing through my ideas was something this project gave me full exposure to. I appreciated their pushback on my recommendations and because of that, I was able to grow as a site architect.